The mustachioed seagull star Okko Järvi has found his joy in playing again in Helsinki – “The temptation to try abroad has reawakened”


With his cup victory, the reigning champion has an open path to a double championship. Although there is still a lot of work to do, the Seagulls’ game is in a condition that raises expectations, says Okko Järvi.


Helsinki Seagulls’ preliminary series in the Korisliiga is without the last wrinkle. The penultimate battle in Friday’s round ended in a surprise loss to Kouvoi for the Helsinki team.

However, the losing game was followed by an almost free day: Saturday’s program consisted only of self-paced punt return practice. Huili is definitely in place, at least if Okko Järve is to be believed : the game load made the man a little tired even the next morning.

– It was a long time, Järvi sighs.

Järvi has gotten used to big minutes and big responsibility in the Seagulls. Järvi, who belongs to the absolute elite of domestic players in the series, is hitting hard and is a key part of Lokkie’s success story this season.

The Seagulls, who are at the top of the league, have played a great first series. Before the turn of the year, it had lost only once. However, after firing the rockets, the plane has started to cough a little, which Järvi also admits. Three of the five league games in January have ended in defeat for the Seagulls.

– You can probably see that the early season was perhaps even a little too easy: there were a lot of crushing victories. You know that at some point those losses will start to come, says Järvi and continues:

– In the end, it’s probably a good thing that they come this early, that they don’t come just before the playoffs or only in the playoffs.

Järvi sees that the Seagulls responded well to the losses. Every losing game has been followed by a win either in the league or in the cup, and the losses have not been able to be chained.

– We have been able to stack the deck really well every time after a loss, and I trust that it will be the same after this one. Even yesterday [Friday] was pretty sticky, of course there were a lot of absences, but you can’t go behind that either. We are still first in the league table, we have to be really satisfied with that, Järvi states.

According to Järvi, the losing games are connected by the fact that the Seagulls have not made the game look like their own doing.

– Kouvot varies that defense – seems to be the only team in the series that plays the position – and it somehow messed up our playing really badly. In the first game, it wasn’t a problem for us, although Kouvoi had a lot of absences then, but now it somehow really messed us up. Kouvot was able to suppress the movement of the ball completely, and there were a lot of losses, analyzes Järvi.

Järvi acknowledges Kouvoi’s good performance on Friday, but at the same time points out that the Helsinki team only scored 68 points in the evening.

– It’s not quite our reading when you look at match-specific averages, Järvi says.

Hunger grows when you eat.

28-year-old Järvi has already won a lot for a relatively young man. The merits include, among others, Finnish championships in Kauhajoki Bearbasket 2019 and Seagulls 2023, Championship silvers in Salon Vilppaa 2017 and Bearbasket 2021, as well as selection as the best player of the series in spring 2021. The hunger to win more is still not satisfied, rather the opposite.

– It seems that the second [championship] tasted much better than the first. Yes, that hunger only grows when you eat. Of course, the journey is really long, but this has looked good so far. There is still a lot of work to be done here, but you can also see it in the team when there are so many experienced players who have won before and know how much it requires in the end, says Järvi.

The experience is also obviously useful from the point of view of authority.

– Fortunately, there are players who have been in those places before, so especially those young Americans can be kept in check – not to go all out when there have been so many victories in the early season, Järvi says.

Although Järvi from Vantaa is used to success, a week ago he also had something in his trophy cabinet that was still missing in a rare way: the Finnish Cup championship in its current form.

– It’s what they talk about, but it’s the cup championship after all. Last year I was in the same place in the final as the losing side, after all, it’s much harder to win it. Even though it might sometimes be considered a joke, it felt good, says Järvi.

From the disappointment of Belgium to the charm of Helsinki

Okko Järvi has played his entire career so far in the Korisliiga, except for the 2021–2022 season. However, the trip to Brussels was anything but as planned.

– I have said it many times in public, that my goal when I was young was to go abroad for a long time. Then I got in, and it was really disappointing. It was also game-wise, when we lost a lot, but then everything else went as far as it could go.

Disappointed, Järvi returned to his home corner in the capital region to melt away. He even says that he was at a loss as to what he wanted from his career. Now the thought has become clearer; The move to the Seagulls was a successful game move.

– Now that I think about it, it was the best possible decision to come to Helsinki now. There were familiar players and coaches here, and now it has gone as well as it could have: the championship was already in the first season. Last season personally started with a bit of a cough, but I already played better by the end of the season – which has been a habit that I play better in the spring than in the beginning of the season.

Now the spring player caught the plot right from the start in a familiar environment – with good consequences.

– Personally, this season has started much better than last season, and the temptation to try abroad has reawakened, which maybe wasn’t there at all last season, Järvi says.

– No decisions have been made yet, he points out.

In addition to the attraction, there is also demand abroad. It would have been there already after last season, but Järvi had time to sign a one-year contract extension with the Seagulls for this season.

– And I don’t know if I would have left anyway after last season, the situation here was so good and I got back the enjoyment of playing, which was a bit lost in the autumn of last season after a difficult season.

Although fame and honor have been accumulated on domestic parquets, Järvi in ​​Susijeng’s shirt has been a very rare sight. There are five adult country matches under his belt.

– A couple of times I have been in the national team windows at the camp, but I have never been able to play the qualifiers there either. However, it is the club team that pays my salary, and maybe that’s why the goals have always been more on the club team side.

– But if the invitation comes, I’m definitely going to fight if it opens up one day. Due to age, there would still be time, Järvi acknowledges.

Style above all else

This season, Järvi’s trademark is a bushy, almost vocational college-style mustache that has gradually become established. According to Järvi, the plane will not be shown to them before the summer holidays, but they will stick to the new style until the end.

– Yeah, they’re not going anywhere this season, I don’t think so. Of course, on the spur of the moment, there might be a temptation to drive them away, but I’m going with these this season, says Järvi.

– If there is gold, then there will be enough superstitions that these might last until next season.

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